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Interpol seizes 500 tonnes of illicit drugs in worldwide raids

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Interpol seizes 500 tonnes of illicit drugs in worldwide raids

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PARIS (Reuters) - Coordinated police raids in 116 countries have netted 500 tonnes of illicit pharmaceuticals available online, including fake cancer medications, counterfeit pain pills and illegal medical syringes, the Interpol police organisation said on Tuesday.

Interpol, based in the French city of Lyon, said an operation codenamed Pangea XI had led to 859 arrests worldwide and the seizure of some $14 million worth of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.

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"Focussing on delivery services manipulated by organised criminal networks, the operation saw 3,671 web links closed down, including websites, social media pages, and online marketplaces," the organisation said.

The illegal drug trade on the internet - and in particular on what's known as the Dark Web - has been growing in recent years, despite authorities shutting down major market sites, as crime gangs have diversified and sought out new clients online.

It is the second significant drugs bust made by Interpol this month.

(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Luke Baker)

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